What is ghee? What are the health benefits of ghee from an ayurvedic point of view? Here’s all you need to know about ghee and how to make it.
“Capable of giving a thousand good effects by a thousand kinds of processing” Vagbhata’s Astanga Hrdayam
Ghee (ghrta) is simply unsalted butter that has been heated to evaporate the water and separate milk solids. What is then left (i.e. fat), is called clarified butter or ghee. Ghee is a lot more digestible than butter as it doesn’t have any of the milk proteins.
Ayurveda considers ghee as the best form of fat
Ghee is a digestive. It helps to improve absorption and assimilation. Ghee is used as a carrier for medicinal herbs and to lubricate the digestive tract and the internal bodily tissues (dhatus). Ghee is sweet in taste, cold in potency and has a sweet after taste. It is said to alleviate all three body types/elements (doshas) in small doses, particularly pitta and vata. Ghee will therefore help you stay balanced during the hot summerand windy autumnseasons which aggravate pitta and vata doshas respectively.
I’ve started using a small amount of ghee (instead of regular butter) on toast, in mashed or baked potatoes, in rice or stir-frys for example. It has a delicious nutty taste. These are some of the health benefits of ghee listed in Ayurvedic books.
- good complexion,
- power of memory,
- digestive power,
- sexual vigour,
- good eyesight.
Ghee is particularly recommended for the children, the elderly, those who desire more children, and disorders of vata or pitta origins.
The older the ghee the better the effect
Just like wine, the older the ghee the better. Old ghee (over 10 years of age) is said to cure intoxication, epilepsy, fainting, insanity, schizophrenia ear, diseases of the eye and vagina; and to cleanse and heal wounds and injuries. Next time you prepare ghee, keep an extra batch in storage.
Ghee can be purchased directly in your local health store, but we would recommend making your own as it is easy and inexpensive.
Ayurvedic Consultant – DipALN, DipAMT (Ayurveda)
The Ayurveda Centre – Athens